Monday, December 12, 2005

The first day I used the internet...

I just read an article about the history of buying airline tickets online. I bought airline tickets online last night, and I started wondering, "How did people buy airline tickets before the internet?" Nancy said it was all through travel agents and direct phone calls to airline call centers. How lame would that be? I'd rather have surgery with rusty tools... no, actually, I take that back.

Do you remember the first time you tried to understand what the internet was? Do you remember the first time you used the internet? Where were you? Why were you using it?

For me, I remember seeing my brother on BYU campus talking about using the internet to get guitar tabs for his favorite songs. I had little clue about how to use the internet, and I didn't even really try to ask for any help. It seemed so unlike
anything I'd ever used.

At home in Texas we had a Tandy 1000 SL, with a CGB monitor, and the Tandy brand GUI running on top of MS-DOS. I wasn't completely non-computer-savy--I regularly dialed my modem to connect to local BBSs. (BBS stands for bulletin board system) Those were like mini-internets. Instead of having links that send you between different domains, you had phone numbers. Typically BBS had media/game files shared on them (piracy was slow back then), and BBSs also had nerdy text-based strategy games on which you could compete with other users. I remember playing the game Kannons & Katapults. It was a game with lots of onomatopoeia going on. More action packed then ZORK. Up there with Legend of the Red Dragon.
Maybe the internet wasn't as foreign to me as it was for non-BBS users.

Anyway, the first time I used the Internet was at my next-door-neighbors' house, the Hubbles. They had just gotten a new comp
uter (a Cyrix chip 586, if I remember correctly). Geff, TJ, and I were excited to see what all the buzz was about. It was a little bit confusing and a little bit anti-climactic, but we were determined to get lots of free games from it. It seemed like it took forever to download stuff, though. And it wasn't fun to have you parents or your friend's parents getting impatient for use of the phone line. "Don't you people understand that I'm learning to ride the new wave? You're hurting my marketability, and I'm trying to download a new exciting game..."

The internet: more useful then any textbook, dictionary, encyclopedia, magazine, cookbook, guitar tab book, BBS, mailman/box, stupid video library, song lyric book, instruction booklet for anything, clothing catalog, etc., etc. forever... Just don't try to buy pants online. They never fit quite right. But shoes and airline tickets are ok. Thank goodness that Al Gore invented it.


Blogger Cicada said...

Sometimes I sit and wonder what life would be like without the internet. For example, I did all my Christmas shopping online this year. I look up movie times. I register for classes. I keep in touch (or not) with friends. I piddle away hours of work time--ahem--I mean I don't do that anymore, but I did in the past and it was very wrong of me. But I do still avoid homework by using the internet. Like I'm doing right now.

I remember the first time I heard of a CD-ROM. It was incredible. I remember playing on my cousins' BBS, too, and shortly after that, we got the internet in our home. I think that the only thing I used it for at first was email. To one friend. Who I met on my cousins' BBS. And I shared an email address with my entire family.

I don't remember the first time I used a search engine, but I do remember that I only converted to Google about six months before my mission. I thought that Google was a silly name before then, so I'd avoid it. I used Altavista, which I thought sounded distinguished.

Now I conduct between five and sixty Google searches a day. How did people ever access information before the internet? I have the internet on as I'm watching tv and movies. I think---"Whoa! Where've I seen that actor before?" And I look him up. I see an ad for something that I like and I immediately go to the website.

I could spend more hours on your blog contemplating the internet, but I won't. I've already said enough. My point is, I have no idea what life would be like without the internet. But I like to imagine what it would be like---and it's always scary.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Nancy Joan said...

I could have sworn I was born chatting on AIM.

Now that I think more on the subject, I do vaguely remember when our family first got America Online.

I thought it was brilliant.

I was in the fifth grade (lets see...what year was that? Maybe 1994? 1995?)

I pretty much thought everything was brilliant.

I used to try to bribe my older brother, Andy, to get off of the computer so I could chat and email. He used to tell me he would get off of the computer when MTV was over. It didn't occur to me until I was 15 that MTV would never actually be over.

The cruelty of siblings is unsurpassed.

I still think the internet is brilliant. I spend a great deal of my time catching up on current events, snooping blogs, and researching all that interests me.

long live wireless internet.

11:40 AM  

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